2.12.13

The Mapping of Letterpress

Map: a visual representation of an area, a symbolic representation of elements in space.

Maps have been used for thousands of years to communicate, orient, teach, and to illuminate. In letterpress and design, maps offer a fabulous blend of lines, shapes, symbols, density, and negative space to play around with. We love looking at the old and the vintage to create something totally new.

Below is a sampling of how mapping can be incorporated into everything from stationery to wedding invitations. Because sometimes life is a journey, not a destination, and you’ll need an awesome map to take you there!

New York City map custom stationery. One-color letterpress, printed in periwinkle, on our stock white paper.

We made this stationery for a good friend who is a real estate broker in New York. Since she lives and works downtown, we knew we wanted the design to be a beautiful, yet simplified map of lower Manhattan. Inspired by vintage property maps, Addy added a modern twist by abstracting the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges into intersecting lines. The result is both elegant and graphic.

“Mai & Ek’s” custom letterpress map of Bangkok.

Printed in soft peach ink on natural white paper, this map was part of Mai and Ek’s wedding invitation suite. They wanted to include a map that would help orient their guests, as well as offer suggestions for sights and attractions.

Mai & Ek’s custom letterpress map

We hand drew the streets and area near their wedding with the help of Google maps, of course! Rory then abstracted the drawing, using arrows, lovely fonts, and graphic icons to create a sophisticated and whimsical design.

Mai & Ek’s custom letterpress map

As part of their wedding suite, we also created a custom logo for Mai & Ek, which they used as a return address stamp. Since the logo was circular, how could we not turn it into a compass? It added such a charming, surprising detail to this lovely piece!

“West End” letterpress map card

Another mapping venture we tackled recently was creating a card of the West End of Hartford, where we grew up (and where some of us still live!). Inspired by the typographical maps of cities like Portland and Boston, we wanted to create a visual representation of the area by using street names. Rory painstakingly rendered each street in the neighborhood, which is bordered by the Park River, adding in points of interest. This three-color card, printed in black, blue, and green ink, is the perfect blend of text and imagery and one of personal favorites.

“West End” letterpress map card

Below is a sneak peek at our most recent wedding invitation design, featuring a custom topographical map that also folds into a book! We love the look of vintage maps from the national parks and wanted to create an invitation suite that used various “logos” to share the details of the wedding weekend with guests. This suite is perfect for a couple planning a rustic, laid-back wedding weekend in the woods. More images of the entire, awesome suite coming soon!

“Cabin Fever” Invitation map. Photo courtesy of Carla Ten Eyck.

“Cabin Fever” Invitation map, folded into a book. Photo courtesy of Carla Ten Eyck.

Finally, when the mood stikes us, we’ve been known to create some pretty gnarly art prints. Rory designed and printed this map of Downtown L.A., lifting the city’s initials directly out of the shape of the streets. The streets and highways begin to take on organic twists and turns, illuminating the untold beauty of urban life.

“Downtown L.A., streetwise” by Hartford Prints!, 2012